Advent reflection 1 – love

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Rev Ruth Fitter, 2019-12-01


I wonder what the word ‘love’ conjures up for you?

Is it a Prince Charming or a Princess Cinderella – someone who comes into your life, lifts you off your feet and sweeps your heart away on a wave of emotion?

Is it one small hand in your own larger hand, trusting and resting on you to lead this smaller person through the day?

Is it perhaps the image of a vulnerable and elderly parent who needs care?

Is it the feeling that strikes you when you notice someone cold and lonely on the hard pavement?

Is it the way in which our hearts swell when we notice the seasons turning?

Is it a gratitude when we look around at our family, our friends; when we hear ourselves laughing or know the feeling of abandonment on the dance floor?

Is it when we lift our voices to praise God in the songs that we sing when the band or the organ swell with us too?

Is it in the still small quiet of the dark hours when our fears seem most evident and our hearts beat too fast?

Is it in the breaking of all our hopes and dreams and in the brokenness we come to find our true selves?

Is it in the friendships that wait for us and mend our hearts and minds?

Is it in the small notes we find in our lunch boxes or the timely text message?

Is it in the sandwiches made and the meals cooked; the washing folded and the uniforms laid out upon the bed?

Is it in the wrestling with the two year old who would rather not do what we have asked and yet we wait in patience?

Is it in the tears that fill the eyes of those who hate to see us in such pain?

Is it in the eyes of one who recognises a soul friend – someone who comes to us on the stars?

Is it in the cries of the hungry, the thirsty and the homeless?

Is it in the hands that hold out hope?

Is it in the corridors of the overcrowded hospital; in the nurses gentle touch and the doctors expertise?

Is it in the middle of this building – in the silence and the stillness?

Is it in the pain of life that is hard and hurting?

Is it standing together for justice; for kindness; for those without a voice; for a different kind of power?

Is it in the first breath of a baby born to a frightened mother and father on a messy floor of straw?

Is it cradled in the arms of this mother and laid gently into a manger far from home?

Is it the lowing of the whole of creation – bowing to the Lord of sky and earth?

Is it the singing of angels and the footsteps of shepherds – the highest and the lowest brought together in the light of the world?

Is it the God of our beginning and our ending bursting forth to dwell with us?

Is it the God of our beginning and our ending desiring to bring us home?

Is it the laying down of all glory on the cross of pain for you and for me?

Is it promising to return to those who have betrayed, rejected and humiliated you; misunderstood, divided and used you as a tool of judgement when all you came as was a tool of understanding, compassion and mercy?

Is it in the standing at the stable door of our own lives, looking at the scene of tenderness within the mess and noticing God looking back at us?

Is it in the recognition that we have been noticed and the response that then comes?

Is it in the step towards the manger or the step away?

Is it the knowledge that God dwells in your heart and mine?

I wonder what the word love conjures up for you?

And how will it come?

The first four verses of this following poem are written by Archbishop Rowan Williams – the last four
verses are written by Rev Ruth Fitter – how might you see Jesus return?

He will come like last leaf’s fall.
One night when the November wind
has flayed the trees to the bone, and earth
wakes choking on the mould,
the soft shroud’s folding.

He will come like frost.
One morning when the shrinking earth
opens on mist, to find itself
arrested in the net
of alien, sword-set beauty.

He will come like dark.
One evening when the bursting red
December sun draws up the sheet
and penny-masks its eye to yield
the star-snowed fields of sky.

He will come, will come,
will come like crying in the night,
like blood, like breaking,
as the earth writhes to toss him free.
He will come like child.

He will come like fire;
heaving and swelling in the heart
on a May morning
as the green buds burst forth
splitting the seed and
giving new life once again.

He will come as the Morning star.
Bright shining in the Eastern sky;
star spangled and with the winds of mars around his hair.
With the beginning and the end
held gently in His palm.

He will come as lover.
Rising to greet and call to his embrace
caressing the fingertips of time
and noticing nothing but you.
For all eternity
his call and gaze
will be
beyond the silent music of the spheres.

He will come as the piercing note of the trumpet;
separating colour and sound;
calling each one home
to rest in his presence.
Yesterday, today and tomorrow.


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